DENVER, CO – One man’s joke sparked a midair security scare and outrage from onboard passengers!
Mohammed Al-Madadi is a Qatar diplomat who forget his plane etiquette book at home. While on United Airlines Flight 663, Modadi thought it would be a good idea to go smoke in the bathroom. Flight attendants noticed smoke coming from the bathroom and alerted federal air marshals onboard. Modadi told air marshals, “I’m lighting my shows on fire.”
Whether he was serious or joking around, Al-Madadi’s actions had consequences and set off a chain of security and terrorism responses. F-16 fighter jets scrambled from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado to accompany the flight during its descent into Denver. Upon landing, the plane was met by the FBI and local law enforcement.
Since Al-Madadi was on official business, he had diplomatic immunity and was released shortly after the incident. The Qatar Embassy posted a statement on their Web site in regards to the incident.
“We respect the necessity of special security precautions involving air travel, but this diplomat was traveling to Denver on official embassy business on my instructions,” Ambassador Ali Bin Fahad Al-Hajri wrote, “and he was certainly not engaged in any threatening activity. The facts will reveal that his was a mistake and we urge all concerned parties to avoid reckless judgments or speculation.”

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